I seem to have developed some sort of sixth sense that means I will undoubtedly pick the worst possible time ever to go shopping in London. I hate shopping anyway. HATE IT. Did not get that gene at all. This is why, when I do go shopping, I have to get a lot of stuff, because everything always needs replacing at the same time. I always know exactly what I’m going for. I do not browse. I go in, I get what I need, and I’m out. I’m like some sort of one man crack commando squad. If there was a squad for shopping.
Worse than shopping is shopping in London. It is always rammed, no matter when or where you go. Tourists wander about slowly and veer into your path no matter which way you try to go round them. It’s all so damn time consuming and frustrating. I wanted to go shopping when I went home for xmas, but being all snotty and gross made that seem like climbing Mount Everest, so I didn’t. Hmm, possibly should have. I thought I’d be smart this time and avoid Oxford Street altogether, and headed for High Street Kensington. It’s a bit of a trek but I’ve been before and it wasn’t too busy. It wouldn’t be too bad.
First of all, it was a match day. Is is always, without fail, a bloody match day when I venture out. Stupid feckin Arsenal. So I was stuck on the bus for ages before the driver kindly let us off to walk. This was also an added incentive not to dawdle, seeing as I needed to be back at Finsbury Park before the football finished and getting home become a trauma too. Fighting thousands of football fans to the two tube stations and being forced out an exit you don’t want to go through is not my idea of fun.
I get to High Street Ken and notice the police presence. That’s unusual. I wander into the Gap and buy some jeans (note, not one of the pairs in the sale I tried on were nice. Of course not! Gotta be full price for me!) I continue on down the street…into a full on protest. Yep. There were hundreds of people filling the streets, surrounded by police vans, carrying signs and screaming ‘Free Palestine!’ Oh shit.
I thought at first that I could work around it. Silly, silly, rookie mistake. My working around it saw me stuck in the middle of the damn thing. I just wanted to cross the road! Can I not make it to Top Shop and Zavvi? I turned to go back and was face to face with a man carrying a life size plastic doll, naked, covered in fake blood. Sod shopping, it was time to go home. I didn’t want to be in the middle of it when/if it went bad.
Then I felt a bit bad, here was a major protest about something important and all I was worried about was doing my shopping. I wish I could say I felt so bad that I threw down my stupid possessions and joined in. I didn’t. I headed home, stopping only to buy a new scarf and gloves to deal with the cold (I still don’t have a proper winter coat though), and two delicious cookies.
The cookies almost made the trip worth it. Almost.